“I mean it is strange to think we are so far away from everybody.”
“I don’t foller you, Ben. I suppose it’s sorter lonelylike, but that ain’t new to me.”
“I never realized how big the world was when I lived at home,” said Ben, in a slow, thoughtful way.
“Yes, it’s a pretty largish place, that’s a fact.”
“What were you thinking of, Jake?” asked Ben, in his turn.
“I was thinkin’ of two things: whereabouts Dewey has managed to hide himself, and then it occurred to me how consolin’ it would be to me if I could light on a pound of smokin’-tobacco. I’ve got a pipe, but it ain’t no good without tobacco.”
“That don’t trouble me much, Jake,” said Ben, with a smile.
“It’s the next thing to a good supper, Ben,” said Bradley; “but I might as well wish for the moon.”
“You needn’t wish in vain for that,” said Ben, pointing out the orb of evening, with its pale-yellow light peeping over the tall tree-tops, and irradiating the scene with its pensive shimmer.
“I can see it, but that don’t help me any,” said Bradley. “If I saw a world made of tobacco up in yonder sky, it would only make me feel worse because I couldn’t get any.”
“What was it you was a-wishin’ for, friend?” asked an unfamiliar voice.
Bradley sprang to his feet, and Ben followed suit.
They saw two strange figures, clad in Spanish. style, with large, napping sombreros on their heads, who unheard, had descended the mountains, and were now close upon them.
“Who are you?” asked Bradley doubtfully.
“Friends,” was the reassuring reply. “We’ll join your little party if you have no objection. I’d invite you to take a drink if there was any saloon handy. As there isn’t, jest help yourself to this,” and he drew out a pouch of smoking-tobacco.
“Just what I was wantin’,” said Bradley, delighted. “You’re welcome, whoever you are.”
“Ben, can’t you get together some sticks and light the fire? It’s coolish.”
Beaten at his own game.
Bradley was of a social disposition, and even without the gift of tobacco would have been glad of an addition to their small party.
“I’m glad to see you,” he said, repeating his welcome. “I wonder I didn’t hear you comin’. Have you been long in Californy?”
“Well onto a year,” said the one who seemed the elder of the two. “How is it with you, stranger?”
“I have been here about as long,” answered Bradley. “Ben has only just come out.”
“What luck have you had?” pursued the questioner.
“Good and bad. I made quite a pile, and went to ’Frisco and gambled it away like a fool. Now I’ve come back for another trial.”
’"What might your name be?”
“Bradley-Jake Bradley. It isn’t much of a name, but it’ll do for me. The boy is Ben Stanton—come from the East.”